Berkley resident David Young likes to take his “Purple Chameleon” to local car shows and cruises, including the annual Woodward Dream Cruise.

Berkley resident David Young likes to take his “Purple Chameleon” to local car shows and cruises, including the annual Woodward Dream Cruise.

Photo by Deb Jacques


This ‘Purple Chameleon’ is custom made

By: Maria Allard | Metro | Published August 4, 2021

 Young inherited the vehicle from his late stepfather, Donald Pipper. Young has the former license plates of loved ones who are no longer alive attached to the inside of the door.

Young inherited the vehicle from his late stepfather, Donald Pipper. Young has the former license plates of loved ones who are no longer alive attached to the inside of the door.

Photo by Deb Jaques

METRO DETROIT — Perhaps you have spotted David Young’s 1953 Ford F-100 pickup truck cruising around town.

“It’s a one-of-a-kind,” the Berkley resident said. “There’s not another one like it. There’s so much custom work on here.”

The truck, which Young calls the “Purple Chameleon,” is a fixture at many local classic car shows, including the Ukranian Cultural Center in Warren on Tuesdays and at the Big Boy restaurant in Troy on Thursdays.

“The car enthusiasts like to share and talk about their cars,” Young said. “You learn so much by talking to the other guys. Every car that comes in, you hear so much about them. The history behind them is so great.”

The Ford pickup truck once belonged to his stepfather, Donald Pipper, who resided in Arizona with Young’s mother, Joyce Pipper. The Pippers had moved southwest before the first Woodward Dream Cruise in the 1990s. The Pippers, born and raised in Detroit, were both car enthusiasts.

When Donald Pipper passed away, Young, 58, inherited the truck and brought it to Michigan on a semi-hauler about two years ago. Young has been taking good care of the family heirloom ever since.

“I feel honored to have this given to me and having to carry it on in the family,” Young said.

According to Young, his stepdad always wanted a pickup.

“He bought it 20 years ago. He saw it in Arizona for sale on the side of the road,” Young said. “He saw it and said, ‘This is the truck for me.’ He loved it. He drag raced. He drove the car to shows in Arizona. He was always at car shows.”

Young now continues the tradition.

“I know he’s up there just smiling away,” said Young, a member of the Pharoahs Car Club International Michigan chapter. Young usually takes the truck out three or four times a week. Cruising up and down Woodward Avenue is a favorite spot.

“I get the look from people,” Young said. “They just love it. It’s a head turner for sure.”

With fewer than 10,000 miles on it, the Ford is in great shape and registered as “historic” with the Secretary of State. The F-100 has several eye-catching features, including “shaved doors.”

“There are no door handles,” Young said. “It has a key fob. Shaved doors just gives you a nice, smooth shape.”

Another standout is the tilted front hood. Young named the F-100 the “Purple Chameleon” because of the way the paint color changes in the sunlight.

“It has purple, blue and green all mixed into it,” Young said. “Sometimes it will look red. There’s nothing I found anywhere that matches this color.”

The truck owner was able to install lights to make the vehicle light up at night. Young decorated the inside of the truck with a collection of Michigan, Arizona and California license plates. Each plate belonged to a loved one who is no longer alive; they have been bolted to the front door.

“They’re always with me when I’m driving,” the car buff said.

Another spot Young likes to hang with the 1953 Ford F-100 pickup truck is the Hotel Royal Oak, where he works in guest services. The car man invites others to check out the hotel’s weekly car show from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Sunday.

Young recently started attending the weekly Wednesday car show at Sandbaggers Bar & Grill in Center Line, where he won the Rock Bottom Bob award. Rock Bottom Bob, well known in the classic car community, died this year.

“It means a lot because it was from Rock Bottom Bob,” Young said.

Born and raised in Detroit, Young’s dad, Jim Young, of New Baltimore, always took him to Autorama and the Detroit Dragway.

“He also loved cars and was a big influence in my decision to be a car enthusiast,” Young said. The pair still likes to attend car shows together.


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Do you own a vehicle that has an interesting history? Contact Staff Writer Maria Allard at allard@candgnews.com and you could be featured in an upcoming edition of Behind the Wheel.